A couple of weeks ago, we relayed the news that former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver and kick returner, Glenn Holt, was going to help out with coaching duties during minicamp. The team wanted to lean on their former player to help them out with the wide receivers, as well as with special teams in the return game. Holt did in fact help out during last week's sessions and caught up with Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com to talk about a variety of subjects.
Aside from taking a stroll down memory lane about his Bengals career with special teams coach Darrin Simmons, Holt chimed in on the Bengals current receiving group. If you remember, Holt was a member of the brash Bengals receiving group of the mid-2000s comprised of Chad Ochocinco, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chris Henry. While the group was statistically productive, they never led the team to a championship and that underachievement still stings Bengals fans a half-decade later.
But, Holt notices a difference in the current crop of Bengals receivers.
Holt told Hobson:
"This is a great group of guys. I was with a great group," Holt says. "But I'm talking about these guys are for each other. When I was here I had Chad, T.J, Chris Henry, but it was different the way the group was. We were all talented, but it was just different as far as the goals we wanted to do. This is a young group."
The knock on that group from the mid-2000s was the desire to collect Pro Bowls in stead of Super Bowl rings and making sure that each got their fair share of stats to point to with their next contract. It's likely that these types of attitudes helped lead Carson Palmer to his trade demand because he saw the selfishness of the group. Holt tiptoed around that particular subject, but noted that the things that the previous group obsessed over aren't the same goals that this current young group has.
"I wouldn't say they were more individual guys," Holt says of his old crew. "I don't know if we had visions. We never talked about Super Bowls or things like that. These guys, they get upset if they drop the ball. They talk to each other. It's a great group. It's just different."
It's hard to say what specifically has sparked the change in the group. You could say it's a bit of a "chicken or the egg" argument, where one can point at the organizational changes made by head coach Marvin Lewis and Co. Then again, you could point to the draft philosophy and point to "team guys" like quarterback Andy Dalton's and receiver A.J. Green's leadership of the offense.
Most would agree that the overall receiver group from top to bottom of the mid-2000s was more athletically gifted and talented than the current crop. It's this group's work ethic, focus and team mentality that makes them rival that talented group from a few years back. This year's group has a lot to prove (including their budding star in Green to prove that his rookie year wasn't a fluke), and while they may not be as athletic as the previous group to this point, their desire to win could trump other shortcomings.